The common perception of teenagers today is soiled by images of alcohol, drugs, hoodies, crime, disobedience, violence and unintelligence. Most teenagers would counter this with outrage and blame these demeaning interpretations on a small minority and stereotyping in the media; but I am here to say that we bring it upon ourselves to have such a reputation.
I wish I could say I was proud of my generation, but let’s face it: the media aren’t far wrong.
Having been amongst it for many years now, I can safely say that we are a generation of deadbeat, attention seeking, conformist, moaners. Thriving from a lack of discipline, we spend our days free of any common manner: loitering around in a constant sulk, yawning without covering our mouths, wearing caps indoors as if it’s perfectly acceptable.
A rare occasion: when “please” and “thank you” is used in an exchange, when a smile is seen to disprove any hostility, or when vocal responses outside of a pathetic mumble are explored. That’ll be the day.
These are all rules which would appear obvious to the older generation, however in my generation, they are disregarded and branded as old-fashioned. “Who needs standards anyway? Get with the times, I’m not hurting anyone!” we plea, as an excuse to act like slobs and walk around in vests eating pasties in the streets before throwing the wrapping on the floor and wiping our hands on our thighs.
Not only is there a decline in manner, but there is a decline in language. It pains me to watch the Americanisation of British English slowly materialise, and this is more prominent than ever amongst teenagers.
Every sentence is littered with the word “like”, and words such as “whatever” and “dunno” are common responses. Swearing and slang is used to show some sort of rebellion against manner or social inclusion amongst friends… or should I say “mates”. And now – with the increased reliance on mobile phones – text speak is diseasing the English language with its pointless abbreviations. TBH, IDK what’s wrong with speaking properly.
Another embarrassing element of teenage culture is the underage consumption of alcohol, which is now a growing problem amongst teenagers. Flashback 20 years ago and teenagers would be lucky to have a sip of eggnog during Christmas; now, we’re out “on the lash” almost every weekend.
Going out with the general motive of “having a laugh”, stumbling past careless doormen into dingy clubs, awkwardly mingling with people twice their age, and eventually passing out at 4AM without any care or dignity about them and a little nudge towards liver disease.
But why is there the need to drink underage? The fact is that as teenagers, we are resistant to accept our adolescence, we all strive for maturity, all we want is to fit in with the grown-ups. We try and convert our undeveloped minds to fit that of an adult’s by indulging in such substances as coffee, alcohol and maybe (for the extra-mature kids) drugs. We buy lottery tickets the second we turn 16, learn to drive the second we turn 17, and get plastered the second we turn 18. Oh, how mature.
While the teenagers race towards maturity, the parents try their hands at being young and hip just once, and are slated beyond belief. We speedily climb the ladder of maturity, whilst our parents wait at the top fuelling us with food, money and too much damn freedom.
Aside from acting mature, teenagers have other means of flaunting their independence, such as fashion. A teenager’s sense of fashion is something which often confuses the older generation, and no wonder. Teenagers are now walking around with gaping holes in their ear lobes, absurd hair colours and pieces of metal skewered through their face, it’s like we’ve regressed to the days of the freak show.
The reason for this is that we see fashion as a way of self-expression, it’s a contest to see who can have the most unique look, and this often leads to a rather outlandish outcome. However, this is no excuse for wearing sunglasses and caps indoors or girls caking their faces in make-up and wearing revealing outfits. The current state of fashion is a gargantuan mess: people trying to stand out and people trying to fit in with those who stand out; that is the general idea. And the result: a cacophony of cries for attention.
Something that is corresponding amidst most teenagers is the constant need to complain, it’s almost as if we enjoy it. Even if we were living the perfect life, we’d probably whine about how it’s “too perfect”. Facebook is used as a platform for voicing such dire grievances as “EASTENDERS CANSELLD 4 THA FOOTIE! OMG!” or “ME MAM BURNT ME CHIKEN NUGETS!” – freedom of speech at its best.
Money is an aspect which often spurs complaints: we complain about our lack of money, so we get a job and complain about how bad that is, then we earn money and spend it on trivial things. Then the cycle repeats, over and over and over.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with us complaining, I mean, it’s not like there are people worse off or anything.
It’s not easy wielding such a pretentious outlook at my age, it’s a constant struggle, withstanding the strain of influence inflicted by fellow teenagers. Alas, few are those who choose a country walk over a pub crawl, Tchaikovsky over Tupac, broadsheets over booze. “Stuff the rules, we just wanna have fun!” Will a game of chess and some homemade shortbread entice you? Thought not.
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